Drinking high-quality loose leaf tea is great in theory - better for the environment, no additional chemicals in your tea from the packaging and so on... That’s why many of us buy loose leaf tea, but in reality, tea bags seem to be a whole lot more comfortable if you stare at your tea-shelf after waking up in the morning or coming home after a long day of work. Brewing loose-leaf style tea often feels a bit of a chore in the first sight… With a bit of practice, I have managed to get used to the process though and packages with loose leaf do not come to my shelves to die a lonesome death anymore. So hereby I’d like to share some tips and tricks :)
1. REGULAR GRANDPA-STYLE
Easiest of them all and also my favourite! Just put a dash of tea into the cup and pour it over with some hot water. Keep in mind that the tea will keep getting stronger while you drink it with this method since the leaves are constantly brewing while you drink. Choose milder tastes, like white teas or sweeter black ones. Georgian black teas are perfect for grandpa-style brews’, because they rarely go very bitter and usually stay pleasantly sweet and aromatic, even if you keep the leaves in for longer time :) As a bonus - If you choose a see-through glass you can see how the leaves roll out in the glass- one of the most calming sights of tea making!
2. SIEVE / INFUSER
The advantage here is the fact that you can take the leaves away from the water, once the tea has steeped enough. There are many types of infusers out there, but I’d recommend a sieve that goes into the cup. Many smaller infusers might be a bit too tight for whole-leaf style teas, like the ones we make with Renegade Tea Farmers. A well-sized sieve, on the other hand, fits all the deliciousness and also gives you the opportunity to see and smell the tea leaves after brewing.
3. A POT
There are so many awesome teapots out there starting from the pretty ones with porcelain drawings, see-through ones where you can observe how the water changes colour during steeping, up to fancier ones that do the thinking for you- heat the water to right temperature, let the leaves in at the right moment and also take them out at the right moment. My favourite is a see-through one (I just love observing the water changing its colour, but maybe it’s just me?) with a detachable sieve. Ultra pro-tip: if you are lucky enough you can use the same sieve from your teapot in your mug as well if you are not making the whole pot of tea ;)
4. BONUS ROUND - ALL THE FANCY STUFF
Once you get deeper into the world of tea, there are many other methods that you can discover like gaiwan or tetsubin, but firstly I am definitely not qualified to give lessons in these options (yet) and second of all I think that drinking tea is like working out- you don’t really need fancy gear to begin, once you have mastered the basics you can move on to the pro gear stuff! :)
Overall there are endless possibilities out there and all you have to do is choose the one that is most comfortable for you. May it be grandpa-style with leaves in the mug, a fancy pot or maybe you want to make iced tea instead, I hope no teas will sit on your shelf, just because they were not additionally packaged in a tea bag. The main thing is to enjoy your teas, and do not be afraid to test and try out new approaches… And just keep a sieve somewhere close to your tea-cups ;)
Just in case your tea shelf does not have a row of teas waiting, I would reccomend our Lazy Morning, Green Velvet or Spring Sting to everyone who prefferes grandpa style brew, or is afraid that they will forget the tea to steep for hours!